I Got Four Words For You: Evaporation

Sometime after the great Al Capone Vault Bust of 2011, in which expectations soared through the basement drop ceiling and were summarily dashed, Kawama received a 6-by-9 clasp envelope addressed to our family from the seller.

The envelope seemed sort of thick and I got excited, remembering that at the closing the seller said that the longtime owner was probably looking down from heaven thinking about us (or some such). I imagined that the envelope contained a bunch of old pictures of the house or something. Or who knows — maybe he was sending us $10,000 in cold, hard cash!

And then I opened it.

And found a water bill from DEP.

"You need to change the address on this," he scrawled on the envelope that he folded at the very top to make it fit.

I admit that I didn't think about the fact that we'd have to let DEP know that we now own the house. Couldn't they have figured that out for themselves? And given that they seem to be so uninterested in figuring that out, do we really think they care about our measly bill?

Which brings up the second surprise — Jesus, water is expensive! Actually, I'll amend that: The DEP bill is kind of expensive, since it also charges for "sewer service." For example, our most recent bill for the last three months was $142.67, divided into two charges: $57.06 for water and $90.73 for the sewer.

I understand the water rate, but what's with the sewer rate? Which is to say, Why does it fluctuate? Do they charge more when you use more water? How do they tell? It seems like it might be connected to the water usage, but why should it? What if I'm watering a lot of plants? What if I'm simmering a bunch of soup? What if I'm sweating a lot? The mind reels . . .

For a while I tried turning off the water when I washed the dishes. I sort of stopped when the weather got chilly and we hadn't yet gotten the boiler serviced — the steam from the hot water from doing dishes was welcome relief. It was the same thing with the low-flow shower head we dutifully installed: At one point I used to always switch to the low setting and now I fear I've fallen into a bad habit of just letting the water run.

It's funny — as a renter, I wouldn't think anything of just letting the water run. We had no idea what water cost. At one point the landlord asked if he could install one of those toilet-sink combination thingys whereby you wash your hands in the water that fills up the tank. In theory, sure, this was a great idea, but given that our bathroom was about 15 square feet total, we were using the space above the toilet for toiletries. Which just begged many more questions, chief of which being why stuff like hair care products have anything whatsoever to do with toilets. And then the mind really really reels . . .

Posted: February 28th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: The Cult Of Domesticity | Tags: , , , , , ,

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